[RATING: 5] Night Owls’ run of covers shows no signs of abating as the Lions and Aggrolites-featuring supergroup comes correct once more with new 45 You Got To Be A Man b/w Gimme Little Sign. The former finds the band give the retro reggae makeover treatment to Helene Smith’s funk original – a path once also trodden by The Caroloregians. But while the ‘Regians kept the grit, the ‘Owls employ L.A. nu-soul singer Sy Smith on vocals and take things in a subtly different but equally dope direction. This version’s a little bit slower, a little bit more blissed-out and on the cusp rhythmically between rocksteady and boss reggae as the ghost of a lilt creeps in. On the flip, things are at the faster end of rocksteady with none other than Chris Dowd from legendary L.A. crazy men Fishbone taking the mic and demonstrating his very capable soul chops on Brenton Wood cover Gimme Little Sign. You shouldn’t need any signs to know you need this.
(Out 12 Feb. on F-Spot Records)